Teachers getting another chance to pass a math test

Teachers' jobs at risk over math test

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Some North Carolina elementary school teachers were initially told they would lose their jobs if they didn't pass a Math test they call difficult and unfair.

Teachers say they recently got a call from their school district informing them they have another year to pass the test. Hundreds of teachers have failed the test repeatedly. Teachers argue what's on the test has nothing to do with what they teach in a classroom for students in Kindergarten to 5th grade.

"Never in a million years would we even come close to teaching some of the topics on this test," veteran CMS teacher Krista Ricks said.

Ricks has been in touch with several teachers who are concerned about the test. They believe the outcome of the test doesn't prove effecting instruction.

"Can you see what a child is doing and correct it? Not 'can you spit out answers to algorithms,'" Ricks said.

NC State Board of Education adopted a new test called the Pearson Test a few years ago for elementary educators. It has not gone well for teachers. The pass rate for the new exam shows a steady decrease in how many teachers are passing. In the 2014-2015 school year, the pass rate was 65.1%. In the 2016-2017 school year, the pass rate dropped to 54.5%.

"I am very concerned that we've had three consecutive years of an increasing failure rate on the test," NC State Representative Craig Horn said. "Why have we not learned from that? I don't know those answers, and I want those answers."

Horn says a committee will examine the new test to see if it's fair. He wants teachers to take a breath and focus on their craft while a solution can be found.

"No one's going to lose their job," Horn said. "We are going to find whether or not we have the right test - whether or not the test is effectively showing us the right outcomes."

Teachers say they prefer the old test - Praxis 5015. Teachers had a pass rate of nearly 90% from 2011-2012 to 2013-2014. Teachers believe that to prove they are effective, they should be judged on more than a test.

"I think we definitely need to put in place other measures," Ricks said. "Measures that are more suited for the elementary school teacher."

Some teachers say they have taken the test multiple times and have had to pay about $100 each time. Teachers have also taken tutorial classes costing about $150. Some are beginning to feel hopeless if this test remains.

"They are disheartened, they are frustrated. Some of them have decided to withdraw from teaching. We are losing really good teachers," Ricks said. "We've got teachers who are getting bonuses from the State - a pat on the back - we noticed your growth. You're in the top 25% of the State, but yet you didn't pass the test."

The fear is that good teachers could now go to South Carolina and Virginia where the test in question is not administered.

For more on the test, click here.

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